A northwest Oklahoma City landmark — Founders Tower — is getting a new name and a new life as upscale housing.
Bridgeport Development Group, which bought the 20-floor tower and surrounding 7.5 acres last year for $4.6 million, released plans Tuesday for converting the former office building into 68 condominiums.
The building is being renamed "The 360 at Founders Plaza" and will include construction of an adjoining office building and hotel.
"The name 360 says it all," said Jim Meyer, chief executive officer of Bridgeport Development. "Not only will our residents have a beautiful 360-degree view of Oklahoma City, but the name also encompasses the complete elegance of what we're offering. From a fitness facility to a concierge service to restaurants and room service, tenants at the 360 can assume all the creature comforts that come with a robust and elegant lifestyle."
Mark Livingston, president of Bridgeport Development, said the $50 million development will include the most extensive overhaul of the tower at 5900 Mosteller Drive since it was built in 1963.
About $2 million is being spent on replacing all of the tower's original dark pane glass windows with new energy-efficient, lighter-colored turquoise windows, Livingston said.
A new cooling tower is set to replace older heating and air systems later this month. Livingston said the project also includes all new electrical wiring and plumbing.
"I've always admired the building in the sense it was unique," Meyer said. "I like the circular structure and the design — it stood alone along Northwest Expressway. It was the very first suburban office park in northwest Oklahoma City. It was a risky deal back then. But it worked."
The same couldn't be said when Meyer bought the tower last year. Office occupancy was down to 50 percent, though the tower still boasted a top floor rotating restaurant, Nikz, and longtime ground floor favorite, Queen Ann's Cafeteria.
But with 6,500-square-foot floor plates, Meyer concluded the tower was no longer feasible as anything but small, low-rent office space or housing.
"Today, people are looking for more conventional space for offices than what this building offers," Meyer said. "It would have taken a significant amount of money to take it from C- to B-Class office space. And it could have never been an A Class building.